IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability Coasts

Future adaptation of coastal systems in Latin America is mostly based on coastal zone management, monitoring and protection plans (see Sections and 13.4.4) which are not specific for climate variability and change and are not yet fully implemented. However, the current coastal environmental framework should be an important support for implementing adaptation options to climate change. Table 13.8 shows some examples of practices and options related to adaptations to climate change.

Table 13.8. Adaptation practices and options for Latin American coasts: selected countries.

Country/Study Climate scenario Adaptation (practices and options)/costs 


(NC-Ecuador, 2000)


LANM2 (+1.0 m)


Protection against severe scenario conditions: coastal defence of Guayas river basin at a cost of less than US$2 billion with benefits two to three times greater; reforestation of mangroves and preservation of flooded areas to protect 1,204 km2 and shrimp farms (the shrimp industry is the country’s third largest export item) against flooding.



(NC-Guyana, 2002)




Accretion development on a low-lying coastal strip 77 km wide in the east and 26 km wide in the western Essequibo region.



(NC-Colombia, 2001)




Recovery and strengthening resiliency of natural systems in order to facilitate natural adaptation to SLR as well as a programme of coastal zone management which emphasizes preservation of wetlands, areas prone to flooding and those of high value.



(NC-Panama, 2000)




Autonomous and planned adaptation measures to protect the loss of beaches, based mainly on soft engineering practices.



(NC-Perú, 2001)




Modern satellite observation systems of sea and continent similar to the international programmes TOGA and CLIVAR, and capacity-building for at least 50 scientists in oceanic, atmospheric and hydrological modelling and GIS systems.



(NC-Uruguay, 2004)


Flooding and SLR


Monitoring systems in order to: track impacts on the coasts; restore degraded areas; develop an institutional framework for integrated coastal management (ICM); define setback regulations; improve local knowledge on beach nourishment; develop contingency plans against flooding; assess socio-economic and environmental needs; encourage stakeholders’ participation.



(Kokot, 2004; Menéndez and Ré, 2005)


SLR 2070


Flood risk maps for Buenos Aires based on SLR trends, records of storm surges (‘sudestadas’) and a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model. These maps will be useful for early warning of extreme events.


Straddling fish stocks: found in both the coastal zone and high seas.

Most fishing countries have regulations governing access to their fishing grounds (e.g., Argentina, Chile and Ecuador) and others have been drafting new legislation in order to control the use of coastal and fishing resources and to introduce adaptation measures (e.g., Costa Rica, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Venezuela). A number of regional agreements have also been signed on the protection of the marine environment, the prevention of pollution from marine or terrestrial sources, and the management of commercial fisheries (Young, 2001; UNEP, 2002; Bidone and Lacerda, 2003; OAS-CIDI, 2003). Brazil and Costa Rica ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, 2005), related to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks[2] and highly migratory fish stocks.

Coastal biodiversity could be maintained, and even improved, through sustainable use by promoting community management to make conservation a part of sustainable development of coastal resources such as mangroves and their artisanal fisheries. In this regard, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Brazil and Nicaragua have promoted initiatives to develop the necessary local community participation in the managed forest of coastal zones (Kovacs, 2000; Windevoxhel and Sención, 2000; Yáñez-Arancibia and Day, 2004; FAO, 2006).

  1. ^  Straddling fish stocks: found in both the coastal zone and high seas.